Sunday, January 27, 2013

Free to be, You and Me

A Christian Declaration on . . . eyeglasses?

Art at the Academy B & B this month - Wes Ens

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” Winston Churchill, obviously quoting someone else.

So Egypt is in turmoil again. As I understand it, the government (democratically elected) of President Muhammed Morsi considers itself to have gained a mandate to reshape the country in the image of the Muslim Brotherhood. On the face of it, that seems right. Is not the democratically elected government of Canada also reshaping the country to fit its version of what a nation should be? I guess it depends on how great the alterations are, the political culture of the country and a great deal more that I will probably never understand about Egypt.

I thought about that in Sunday School this morning where the persecution of Christians came up as a topic; we questioned whether or not the Christian faith was still being trampled on as it was when Paul wrote his letters to the early churches. Someone opined that bylaws restricting the word Christmas for the winter holiday were examples of anti-Christian sanction. The restrictions on religious exercises in public schools could be interpreted in the same way . . . depending on your viewpoint.

The conflict in Egypt seems to me to centre around the application of Sharia law through the constitution, among other amendments approved by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood ruling party, of course. Not quite a theocracy, but certainly headed in that direction. That a substantial part of the population should resist a move away from secular governance to a religion-based constitution is understandable. 

Historically, portions of any population ruled theocratically have been thrown under the bus; at the same time, freedom of worship has not been compromised in nations where democratically-elected, secular regimes have held the reins of power. Canada could serve as an example.

The Lord’s Prayer, Bible readings, the Christmas story re-enacted in public schools where children of all religions (or no religion at all) are served is an infringement of the right to religious freedom; no government can preserve human rights relating to faith if it favours one religion over another in its public institutions. 

Christians in Egypt are certainly apprehensive about their future in that state as a result of the current developments. No doubt they understand fully the danger to them and their faith at the hands of the Morsi regime.

We should pay close attention to those developments, and school ourselves well on the meaning of religious freedom.


  1. Sorry uncle George, I'd have to say that you've taken a rather shallow dive in the contents of your latest note. Painful. Do I have full information, no just some conversations with a Coptic Christian

  2. I would love to hear what those conversations with a Coptic Christian were about.

  3. I haven't seen him for awhile. Perhaps our paths will cross as it has a few times in the past. He's the only Christian I know who can read the Koran in Arabic.